Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease of the retina that can cause visual distortion, blind spots or complete loss of central vision. It’s a leading cause of vision loss for people over age 55.
Daily Activities Can Be a Challenge with AMD
AMD causes vision loss but not necessarily total blindness. Most patients retain their peripheral vision. Daily activities such as driving, reading, watching television, using a computer and going up and down the stairs can be a challenge. However, with a little preparation and perseverance, anyone can learn to live with the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration.
Maintain a Healthy Life Style
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to slowing the progress of the disease. Doctors recommend that you:
- Don’t smoke
- Eat eye healthy food, particularly green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, along with fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Get regular check ups
- Keep your blood pressure down
- Watch you cholesterol
Changes Around the Home
There are many things you can do to make it easier to get around the house and perform your daily activities. Getting rid of low furniture, movable rugs, and clutter can reduce the risks of falls. Avoid fire hazards by using a microwave instead of an oven or stovetops. Apply large print labels to identify medications and other household items. Install brightly colored carpeting. Contrasting colors also make things more visible.
Proper lighting plays a big part in making your home safer. Use bright light bulbs and lamps that can be swiveled or moved to direct the light where it’s needed. Night lights are a great idea. Reduce the effects of glare with drapes, blinds, tinted or polarized glass and choose furnishings with a flat or matte finish.
Other considerations to make moving around your home easier include:
- Make sure thresholds are flush with the floor (no bumpy transitions between rooms) and remove interior doors.
- If stairs are unavoidable, mark each step with bright tape or paint them contrasting colors for better visibility.
- Install grip bars near toilets, showers and bathtubs.
- Buy skid-free bathroom floor mats in bright colors.
Powerful glasses and magnifiers will allow you to continue to read. Large print books are easily available from libraries and online retailers. So are audio books. Both Windows and Macintosh computers have controls that make it easy for visually impaired people to adjust things like font size and screen contrast. And of course, the larger your computer or television screen the better.
Don’t Let Your AMD Get To You
It’s not uncommon for people who lose vision to go through a period of depression. Some of the ways people with AMD can cope include:
- You’re not alone – join an AMD support group
- Participate in social media
- Seek professional counseling
- Start a hobby
- Get out and about – even if you can’t drive, there are alternate forms of travel such as taxis and buses.
- Reach out to family and friends
Your Houston Eye Specialists
Don’t hesitate to contact the Berkeley Eye Center if you notice changes in your vision. Early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progress of diseases like AMD and glaucoma.
Our Houston Ophthalmologists and Houston Optometrists are dedicated to protecting and preserving the vision of our patients. We have 20 convenient Houston locations that provide a complete range of services from eye examinations and LASIK surgery to custom frames, lenses and contact lenses. Click here for a list of locations and phone numbers.